I hope this Sunday Morning Update finds you healthy and whole. For the second week in a row, it seems like half of our church family was out this week with colds, flus, injuries, or the like (though I know that a couple of families were off traveling as well). Apparently, February is a dangerous time of the year. But by the time you’re reading this, it may very well be March, so let’s not dwell on that...
I’d appreciate your prayers for a few things. First off, please be praying for the people involved in the accident that just happened at our intersection as I began typing this Update. Pray for safety and healing for those who were in the accident itself, as well as wisdom and skill for the medical professionals working with them.
But I also ask that you be praying for me as I join a number of other Peoria pastors this Saturday morning to pray for our community. This prayer time will be at the Peoria Civic Center, so that means that there may or may not be hoopla surrounding it, but this isn’t about posturing or making public presentations for the media or anything like that. We’re just coming together to lift our city up to the Lord and show solidarity and brothers and sisters in Christ. It doesn’t matter whether a pastor is Presbyterian or Baptist or Methodist or even an old Anabaptist like me, whether we’re white or black, or male or female, or liberal or conservative -- the important thing is that we follow the Lord and see His love as being bigger than the world’s hatred.
Actually, I guess we talked a little bit about that on Sunday, as we finished off our sermon series on “Hitting the Target” (and, luckily, one of our FCCers said, “Oh, I finally understand the analogy you’ve been making!” so that’s a good thing). We’ve talked about having the wisdom to know what you’re trying to accomplish in the first place, the care to take aim at the right target in God’s will, the consistency to anchor yourself in God’s perspective with each draw of your bow, and now the best equipment to accomplish whatever you’re trying to accomplish.
In a world increasingly antithetical to Biblical Christianity (a Hollywood star was just lambasted this week for tweeting that he’s praying for a friend who’d just had a major heart attack), it is all the more important that we don’t just live like people who are part of a church that reads the Bible -- but that we live like people who actually study and apply the Bible ourselves. We often say that we want the world to change to be more Christ-like, but far too often, what we mean is that we want the world to change to be more like us. But when we judge other people, speak spitefully of those who aren’t just like us, respond with outrage toward other perspectives, harbor resentments about past hurts, demean people based on their skin color or religious beliefs, etc., we Christians end up looking just like the world -- albeit the Christian flavor.
So instead, we need to make sure that when we affirm that we follow the Bible, we actually familiarize ourselves with it as our necessary equipment and live like we’re living like people who actually follow the whole Bible.